U.K.'s Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Explains Why God Invented Atheists

"I call them his majesty's loyal opposition."

While Jonathan Sacks is a top religious leader and even served as the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth for more than two decades, he has a profound "respect" for the non-religious.

Sacks, whose new book Not In God's Name just hit bookshelves in the U.S., sat down with HuffPost Live on Tuesday and discussed the important role that atheists play in countering religious believers.

"I love them. I call them his majesty's loyal opposition. I don't know if that phrase translates into America, but you get the point," he chuckled.  

Sacks explained that atheists can pose questions that push followers of any religion, even himself.

"Why did God invent atheists? To stop religious leaders [from] getting too big-headed, to challenge us," he told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "[They may ask], 'If God exists, how come there's so much suffering in the world?' An atheist tells me that and I can't sleep at night, because it's a good and valid point. But the truth is, you don't have to be an atheist to say that, because Abraham and Moses also said it."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks here.

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